Perfect weather for a bike ride . . .

December 5, 2008

Maiden voyage to job#1 on the Snowbeast

First long commute on the Crudwell, Snowbeast, whatever you wanna call it.
Wow. First off, 22 miles on a 48 inch gear with a max speed at 100 RPM of about 13.5 MPH…. yikes.
That’s a lot of spinning. But, it’s very low intensity spinning, which is nice for recovery – and having some semblance of an “off season”, so I’m sticking with it. After all, with traffic lights and such, it’s only turning out to be a touch slower than when I commute on the regular bike with gears. It’s all about consistency, and the only real bummer is the inability to REALLY enjoy a tailwind and gear up for some speed.

Couple of things that ABSOLUTELY need to be changed, however: flat, straight bars, are for short distance off road use… at least from my perspective. You all know from reading here how long I can stay on a bicycle. The flat mountain bike bars on this steed are a killer. After only about 7 miles, I was experiencing the same hand numbness as I started to feel on day two of the 600K. Yeah, really. One position, no options, and my wrists at the wrong angle… those flat bars HAVE to go. I should be able to procure a set of road drop bars this weekend, and that will take care of that issue. Yeah, it will look a little odd…. But I don’t care: it’s a commuter, not a pure-bred mountain bike, and I don’t really plan on doing anything offroad. If I DO, well, way back in the early 80’s, all mountain bikes had drop bars anyways, right? Just look up some old Ned Overend photos, and there you have it… so, I’m not making a hybrid, I’m a revisionist. Yeah. Whatever.

The saddle… in fine beater-maker tradition, the saddle I’m running was a dumpster-pull. I cleaned it up, verified it was in one piece and ride-able, and had the local Rabbi re-certify it as Kosher. But it’s freaking uncomfortable. I hearken back to when the Warbird was saddle shopping in the early days of our first Ms-150 run, and he stumbled upon a Selle Italia Gel saddle… in fact, actually, now that I recall things, I think it was stock on the Trek 2100 he’d bought… anyways, it was, as most stock saddles are, utter crap. It had this HUGE bulge of “genuine gel” in the center of the saddle – which was supposed to provide damping, but instead made it feel like you had a gel-covered rock shoved up into your perineum. Trash. The Selle Italia Trans-Am came into play, and changed everything. I followed suit, and I’ve been riding the same saddle ever since. Brooks, flex-wing this and that, Carbon whatever – I have yet to find ANY saddle that is as comfy and durable for ANY price. If anyone mentions “Selle Anatomica”, I’ll have to beat you senseless, after I point you to Ort of Texas’ blog. Trash. Horrid customer service. I digress.

I think once the initial “this is as fast as I’m going to go” realization hits home, this will be a productive winter of commuting. Already, even though I took today off to rest up for tomorrows 203km ride, I feel acclimated to the cold – it was 12 degrees when I stepped out of the garage this AM, and it really didn’t feel that bad.

More to come – most likely the RUSA ride report for this weekend’s fun!

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